Remembering Andy Rooney. Moving on.

Andy Rooney is dead.

When Kurt Cobain died in 1994 Rooney launched perhaps his most infamous rant. From the Wikipedia summary:

“I’d love to relieve the pain you’re going through by switching my age for yours.” In addition, he asked “What would all these young people be doing if they had real problems like a Depression, World War II or Vietnam?” and commented that “If [Cobain] applied the same brain to his music that he applied to his drug-infested life, it’s reasonable to think that his music may not have made much sense either.”

I swore then that on the day Rooney died there’d be a party at my house where we’d dance on the grave of the hateful bastard just as he had Cobain’s.

That Rooney apologized the following week doesn’t really matter to me. If he’d gone off about something he didn’t understand just this once, I’d get it. We all have our bad days and I don’t think our legacies should be defined by our worst moment. The problem is that “half-cocked” was Rooney’s brand. It was the rule, not the exception. His whole schtick was babbling about things he didn’t get. As it turns out, there were enough things he didn’t get to sustain a 33-year run on one of America’s most popular shows.

If only his brand had been about finding things he didn’t understand and then, you know, learning about them. Instead, he made a mint as TV’s version of the crotchety old geezer that we probably all know, the pissed off 150 year-old fossil shaking his cane at those damned kids to get off his lawn and venting a closet full of opinions that are as strongly held as they are ill-informed. Shit my granddad says. Times a hundred.

I never forgave Rooney for his spiteful and ignorant assault on Kurt Cobain and I never will. But the party tonight will have nothing to do with his passing. In the end, I can find no reason to make more of his death than I did his life.

Categories: Media/Entertainment

Tagged as: , ,

6 replies »

  1. I’m glad someone finally said it. He was the reason I’ve never watches a full episode of 60 Minutes.

  2. I remember hearing something he said, and along with some things some other old-timers said (like Walter Cronkite), I thought, “Some people live too long in public.” Not that I wished them dead, I just wish they’d go off and play with the grandkids and the media wouldn’t broadcast the ignorant things they say in the last 20 years of their life destroying any good will they had built up.

  3. I had exactly the same reaction when Rooney died. I, a Seattleite and teacher, watched with horror in 1994 as Rooney demeaned Cobain, Nirvana, and the reactions to his death by his listeners. It was an unthinking, spiteful and mean rant by somebody who didn’t know and didn’t care to know. Meanwhile, my students were receiving grief counseling at school. I never forgave Rooney his graceless, classless, clueless rant.

  4. I never knew Rooney’s political leaning until recently but always hoped he teetered in the opposite direction. He tilts left but thankfully and I’m the counterbalance. Sorry Mr. President, there’s goes another of vote.

  5. You know, I heard it and I agreed with it. there were FAR better artists out there before and after than that sniveling twit. Did they get promotion, play or airtime, no. A lot of Cobains stuff was good, and a very little of it was really good, but none really came up to the level of greatness.
    It is SO rare on teevee to see ANYBODY take a stand on ANYTHING that I liked Rooney even when I didn’t agree with him.
    What is YOUR life going to be about when the curtain comes? Minor artist worship?